Too bad Obama's speechwriter Jon Favreau (no, not the actor) doesn't read The Pongo Blog. Heck, just three short weeks ago, our own Brianna Raymond posted about how employers are screening job candidates on Facebook. If Favreau had read it, he might have thought twice before copping a feel on a cardboard image of Hillary Clinton while cameras were flashing.
But alas, the compromising photo (seen here) soon made its way to Facebook. And now Favreau's personal brand is: "27-year-old chief presidential speechwriter and dude who got to second base with a life-size cutout of the secretary of state-designate."
What makes this recent kerfuffle even more ridiculous – beyond the childishness of the gesture itself and the colossally bad judgment of being photographed while doing it – is that it occurred not long after the comprehensive questionnaire given to all prospective Obama staffers went public. You know, the one that specifically asked whether they had anything potentially embarrassing on the web?
This Took a Whole Case of Dumbass
There are lots of dumbass mistakes people make along their career paths, but this one was a special kind of stupid. When they were writing the rulebook for presidential speechwriters, they probably thought "keep your hands off Hillary's hooters" went without saying.
Now, to cut him some slack, Favreau didn't actually post the photos on Facebook; a friend put them up and tagged them with Favreau's name. And the embarrassing images were taken down within two hours, but not before circling the world-wide web a few times.
Fortunately for Favreau, the Clinton camp has already put a positive spin on the incident, calling it evidence of "the new bonhomie" (good-natured friendliness) with their former rivals on the Obama side. Hmm. "Bonhomie" is pronounced a lot like "frenemy." Coincidence? I think not.
All in all, this particular career faux pas was only mildly offensive. The subjects in the photo did look like they were being silly, not malicious. And OK, it was pretty funny. In fact, Favreau's blunder seems to have already blown over. Not because it wasn't egregiously stupid, but because it's in the party's best interests to put up a united front.
And the Lesson Is...
I promise you, the rest of us would not get that kind of a pass if we appeared on the web making an immature, disrespectful, and sexist gesture toward a high-ranking executive in our organization, no matter how many giggles it inspired.
The recent presidential campaign provided plenty of job search lessons. And if we keep our eyes and ears open, there will undoubtedly be even more highly relevant lessons to be learned from the political hijinks of the workers of Washington.
For the record (are you paying attention, Mr. Favreau?), covering your web tracks is a very important part of job search success and proper career management.
What do you think? Was this situation handled appropriately? Should Favreau have been fired?